Author Catherine Marshall says people ask why do we pray if God already knows everything; “God insists that we ask, not because He needs to know our situation, but because we need the spiritual discipline of asking.” Philosophy professor Paul Rezkalla explains, “A mother can bake a cake on her own, but she delights in having her children get on the counter with her and read out the recipe as they hand her eggs, flour, and sugar. In the same way, God calls us to pray because He delights in enlisting us to help bring about His purposes for creation.”
The following stories are by people you may already know, or maybe they reflect something you’ve asked for in your life. Some names have been changed for privacy but, for this Passover/Easter/quarantine season, it seemed appropriate to share their stories for a little uplift in our readers’ day.
The Cactus Answer
Nina was going through a very rough patch of marriage. For some time, their spousal relationship was strained due to work pressures, parental responsibilities, and even the unwelcome intrusion of others in their lives. She was desperate to have the closeness and love that had been a large part of their nearly-20-year marriage but felt that time was running out. At some point, it was really up to God.
“One day I just got down on my knees and I prayed for God to bring the love back into our relationship; to make us remember how much we loved each other and could begin the healing process together.”
She was happily stunned when not too many minutes later, her phone beeped. On it was a photo of a cactus plant that was oddly shaped like a heart. The message from her husband read that he was out on the road and, for some reason, he looked over on the side of the road and saw the plant, so neatly shaped like a heart, “it made me think of you and I just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you.” Nina and her husband are still married, and happier than ever.
The Answer Was “No”
Dorothy was desperate, for nine years, to get a better job. She was a single mom, with plenty of debt, and she went through phases, every now and then when things got frustrating, furiously applying for anything she hoped might have given her a chance to find balance and a little bit of security. She kept track of her applications to make sure she didn’t inadvertently apply to the same places again and again.
After about 200 rejections, she was ready to accept the fact that she apparently didn’t have the skills anyone needed. When she moved to Georgetown, she found some mentors, who helped her understand the nature of God’s plans, and she decided to put it into His hands. Two years ago, her company was sold to another and the job she always wanted to have dropped in her lap; no applications or resumes needed. Today she is happy to share; “I know God wasn’t ignoring me, He just said ‘no’ 200 times because He knew that what I do have to offer was going to be put to its best use on His schedule, not mine.”
Sometimes, Right Away
Joey and Sarah had decided they were going to adopt but the costs really challenged their plans. “We’d been planning and praying that the Lord would ordain our steps and help us figure out where exactly this money was going to come from.” They knew how much they would have to save monthly, and prayed the Lord would help figure it out. The very next day, they received a check from an old life insurance policy that had never been closed out. “We’re not sure how the company found us, but the check was within $10 of the amount we had said we needed to save. God answered our prayers almost immediately.”
Right away, 2
Andrew and his friend served Tuesday nights at Loaves and Fishes Austin from 5:00-6:15, and it was summer time, with people lined up all the way down the street at 5pm. “We always served bread and peanut butter and then the meal. My friend came and said we are OUT of bread and it was only 5:15. I looked at her and went over the stove and simply said, ‘Father God, we are already out of bread. You will have to make this stretch just as you did when you fed the 5,000.” He continued to serve those coming to eat. About five minutes later there was a knock at the back door, which no one ever uses. The man outside said he had never been to Loaves and Fishes, but he had all this extra bread, and someone suggested to take it to Loaves and Fishes. Andrew and staff praised God for not only hearing their prayer but answering so quickly.
After nearly three years of suffering from terrible GERD, Dennis’ wife was near death. She had lost a significant amount of her body weight and doctors could find no medical solution. They had only succeeded at finding medication that helped some but worsened her condition. Finally, after exhausting all local options, he made an appointment for her to be seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. He explained the problem to the church as they set off, and they prayed corporately for her and in many small groups. The night before her first appointment; she awakened and said she was in absolutely no pain, for the first time in three years. She ate a little breakfast without pain. The doctors performed extensive tests and proved the disease that was destroying her life was healed. They had no explanation other than it was a miracle.
It’s the Little Things
One day Nancy’s son was in the car as they were headed to the church building (it was Thursday), and he wanted a donut. She told him there are only usually donuts around on Fridays for ministry, and Sunday mornings. He was bummed and sat quietly the whole ride to the church. She prayed informally in her head, but didn’t have a lot of hope. When they arrived, he said again that he wanted a donut, and she offered to take him into the workroom just to see, knowing he’d just be upset all over again. There was literally one donut left in a box on the counter area. Out of surprise she told the lady at the front desk who responded, “Things like that make me know God delights in answering the prayers of little children.”